Publisher: DC Comics
Writer: Rob Williams
Artists: Juan Ferreyra & Augustin Padillo
Colour: Adriano Lucas
Lettering: Pat Brosseau
Release Date: 24th August 2017
Cards on the table: this issue is infuriating, for all sorts of reasons.
Suicide Squad has consistently been on my pull list for a very long time, even through some shaky New 52 moments (I’m looking at you, Black Manta), and I’ve really enjoyed the Rebirth run. It has been, as these things so often are, a template for how a film should have been done.
We’ve had great moments in the run, from Zod’s tenure on the team, the Annihilation Brigade and Cosmonut (seriously, the guy’s head is a hammer), the hilariously OTT dialogue from Enchantress juxtaposed with June’s relationship with Croc, an increasingly cynical Harley, an increasingly positive Deadshot, and more besides.
Briefly, Waller has made some sort of deal with the clandestine The People, who seek to remove all metas for the sake of humankind. And, with the recapture of the redeemed Killer Frost, the team dealing with deaths of members and the twisted leadership of Dr Quinn, the interference of Batman and the inevitable machinations of Waller coming to a head, I had really high hopes for this issue.
Then I saw the cover.
What’s wrong with it? Looks great.
Yeah. It does, and I liked Tunguska as a character.
Pity that the cover image and splash bear zero resemblance to the issue’s content.
And wait… Isn’t that member dead?!
Oh, ok, maybe it’s a flashback or a Flash-something-multiversal?
Honestly, it’s baffling. I keep rereading the issue just to check.
And here’s the kicker: the story is great. Williams’ dialogue is ace, and in particular his version of Quinn is written to perfection: she’s commanding and slightly sinister – we get why Waller chose her to lead – yet she’s still kooky as ever. Also, Batman doesn’t overshadow the story, but instead is a vehicle for dealing with Katana’s personal conflict and motivation (having damn near sliced him in half in the previous issue). It’s a very challenging balance to achieve, and it’s done expertly.
The art is tremendous also. The two artists’ styles enable a really intense feel to the grit and a lighter touch for the humour – there is a brilliant Sexy Cavalry! moment with Harley and Katana that is matched with some deft, deceptively simplistic character design that works perfectly. Likewise, this is matched by expert colouring that switches between character and mood – it’s slightly trite to say it’s cinematic, but here it’s absolutely true. Croc is especially well coloured, a muted, threatening contrast to the more vibrant characters.
So, perhaps, all is forgiv… Wait.
Final panel, penultimate page. And on to the first panel of the last.
It’s a big reveal. I won’t spoil it, but it made me livid. Because I just don’t believe it. I think it undermines character and storylines. Yes, no doubt it will be the focus of issue 25 but, seriously, a cheap play that lets down what is otherwise one of the most enjoyable titles out there.
So it’s a net 3/5, but that’s a 2/5 for the cover, a 5/5 for 19 pages and a 1/5 for those panels. I don’t care if that doesn’t add up, I’m too cross.
The irony? I still think that this is one of the highlights of Rebirth. Better not let me down with issue 25 is all I’m saying.
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